8 Jan 2012

Expedition to bury time capsule to mark Mawson centennial

8:50 am on 8 January 2012

A time capsule will be buried at Commonwealth Bay in Antarctica as part of events to mark 100 years since Sir Douglas Mawson led Australia's first expedition to the continent.

The supply ship Aurora Australis left Hobart on Friday night with teams of scientists who will take part in the commemorations at Mawson's huts.

Australian Antarctic Division director Dr Tony Fleming says Mawson established scientific research as the focus in Antarctica.

''It stands to this day as a heroic expedition and an expedition which opened up Antarctica for science,'' he said.

The ABC reports Mawson's huts will provide the backdrop for the celebrations. His base camp was at Commonwealth Bay.

Dr Fleming says they represent the hardships endured by those on the first expedition.

''Commonwealth Bay isn't the greatest location for a winter base; it's raked by katabatic winds.

''They knew no better at that stage, but it's a really difficult place to live and those huts represented the difference between survival and death for those expeditioners."